Taiji Day 215: Prepare to Empty

The morning after any indulgence the night before — alcohol, for example — is usually difficult. I rarely have anything more than a glass of wine in the first place, and almost never anything stronger. Most often, my drink of choice is water, and consequently tai chi in the morning is easy.

Last night, I over-indulged, not in drink but in food. Some friends invited my lady and me to dinner: cheese and crackers, prociutto, lamb, mashed sweet potatoes, summer squash, potato leek mushroom soup, birthday cake. It was a four-course extravaganza, all home-made and all delicious. I overindulged, not with wine (I know not to do that), but food. It didn’t help that we’d eaten a late lunch, either.

Trying to do the form with a still-full stomach from the night before is… interesting. As one does the movements, things shift around inside that are unexpected. I felt something move from my stomach to my small intestine, something move from my small intestine to my large intestine. The forms were immediately followed by a bathroom visit.

I’m sorry to be so graphic. But it turns out that tai chi is really effective at bringing overindulgence to one’s attention, and also managing the aftermath of that indulgence. Muscles in motion tend to press on internal organs, and make necessary shifts.

The process isn’t complete, by any means, but I’m rather less full than I was before tai chi. And it’s nice to know that the process I’m doing isn’t just about external stretching and physical improvement; it also has genuine internal benefits that are easy (if not always pleasant) to document.

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